Juvenile Justice traces the story of a cold, reserved judge and follows her as she is appointed at a juvenile court in the Yeonhwa District, much to her dismay. The drama series is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Eun-Seok has earned the name of ‘Judge Max’- as a judge who strives to get her criminals the maximum punishment possible. The story begins when she gets appointed at a juvenile court in Yeonwha- thus begin the hoards of cases that come to her and her corresponding judgements.
She comes across Cha Tae-Joo, her co-worker, who is completely poles apart from her- whether it’s personality or temperament. Together, this competent pair handles juvenile cases that involve teenagers. She has another senior colleague- Judge Kang, but he seems to be more interested in his political career.
Meanwhile, we see a crowd of protestors protesting against the juvenile laws for not being strict enough- therefore encouraging the surge in juvenile crimes. This acts as a flammant for Eun-Seok’s resentment against teenage criminals.
Baek Seong-u, 13, is accused of a brutal, gruesome murder of an 8-year-old. He seems to be nonchalant as he believes he would get out scot-free, due to the Korean laws for juveniles. He also seems a bit unstable, mentally. Turns out, he has an accomplice- Ye-Eun, a girl who gets spotted and chased by Eun-Seok. The former gets cornered.
Ye-Eun is sent to the centre, while a lot of legal proceedings and backroom conversations are displayed. And Ye-Eun seems to have a mental disorder too. Meanwhile, the 8-year-old victim’s mother pleas for justice to Eun-Seok. Ye-Eun seems to be the actual ringleader and she gets locked up for 20 years, while Seong-u gets probation for 10 years.
The pair get on the case of Yu-Ri, a girl who staggers into the courtroom. She is presumed of having been assaulted and is immediately sent to a hospital. Eun-Seok visits the salon where Yu-ri worked and she comes to know of the existence of a man Yu-ri seemed to see, who later turns out to be a father with anger issues. Also, she seems to be caught in a circle of prostitution and theft. Something looks amiss.
Eun-Seok gets Yu-ri arrested for her minor crimes, which is an attempt to bring her father to court, who used to physically abuse her. In the court, he tries to attack his mother (Yuri’s grandma). In a fit of rage, Tae-Ju attempts to strangle him.
For the next case, the pair is asked to look into Pureum Home for girls, where the owner O Seon-Ja is suspected of mistreating the inhabitants. On further investigation, she seems to be a victim put through the same atrocities, as she tried to build the institutions. In a weird turn of events, Seon-Ja pays for Yu-Gyeong’s surgery, her own presumed victim. Seon-Ja’s daughter A-Reum is the one who had made the false report, without thinking about the consequences. The girls are all loose now.
The pair are now set to look for the girls- when they learn about Yeon-Ji, the leader. She seems to be in a bad position, locked in a hotel room. They get rescued by Eun-Seok. Meanwhile, Yeong-Na gets beaten by her mother’s boyfriend, only to be comforted by Seon-ja.
In the next juvenile case, it seems that a prestigious school’s paper has been leaked out by notorious group ‘Descartes’. Kang’s son Sin-u is a part of it! The police are at their door, leaving Kang fuming. His abusive parenting is revealed- where he threatened his son for good grades. Kang is forced to withdraw from his political career and turn himself in. Geun-hee becomes his new replacement.
Next, we meet Do-Seok, a guy driving an SUV with a fake ID. An accident results in him getting a motorcyclist killed. The pair gets their hands on a video of Do-Seok with assaulted by some boys, resulting in his vegetative state. With no further evidence, the gang of boys get released, with their parents celebrating.
Further, Eun-Seok gets handed a case of gang rape- with the perpetrator being Hwang In-jun. She immediately starts sobbing, indicating some relation with this to her past.
Meanwhile, Seon-a, the rape victim, perhaps scared gives the possibility that one of the guys who violated her might be Do-Hyeon (In-jun’s friend), and not In-jun. Eun-Seok gets slapped by her mother-in-law in front of everyone.
If you still have doubts about the ending, here’s a full breakdown.
Juvenile Justice (2022) ending explained in detail (Episode 10):
Seon-a gets Justice
Do-Hyeon turns out to be a leader of the group that gang-rape girls, film the act, and sell the footage for the money. Eun-Seok is looking for a possibility of In-jun being involved too, and she seems to have a motive for that. She pressurizes Tae- Ju, who’s still grieving for Do-Seok to reveal Do-Hyeon’s location. Which he does.
Eun-Seok snoops around at Do-Hyeon’s base, where she finds a plethora of evidence pointing to his gang’s crime. She gets caught by him. In a nerve-wracking fight that follows, he stabs Eun-Seok in the shoulder, only to be hit with a brick by her. As he attempts to strangle her, they are interrupted by the Police. While Eun-Seok gets sent to the courthouse for her injuries, Do-Hyeon gets arrested.
Using the evidence, Tae-Ju manages to force other preparators to confess, with all of them (including In-jun) arrested and punished. Seon-a tearfully wishes to have her normal life back.
Eun-seek’s disdain for juvenile criminals gets justified. The fact that she started sobbing when she heard of In-jun is because he was responsible for her late son’s death. Do-Hyeon was with him at that moment.
They had purposefully thrown a brick from their school’s rooftop, which hit Eun-Seok’s son. He had an instant death, but what remained was Eun-Seok’s permanent resentment against Juvenile criminals. The fact that they had a real punishment made her seethe in anger.
While some advocate that minors can have a different path with proper love and care, Eun-Seok believes that they would never change. She stands on the same stance she had at the beginning- the only difference being that she’s ready to be more understanding and unbiased.
Geun-hee, Kang’s replacement has been a sceptic about Eun-Seok’s motives. She believes that the gang rape case that Eun-Seok has undertaken is because of her prejudice against the preparator. She even mishandles the case just to get it off her plate.
When confronted by Eun-Seok about her practices, she threatens to take public action against her misconduct and tries to reassign the case to some other judge.
But as she gets deep into the case, she realizes her folly. She gives an apology to Eun-Seok and comforts her when she learns about her past. As a token, she even agrees to Tae-Ju using the evidence to further catch the preparators.